The community group leading the development of the 40km coastal path from Stornoway all the way round the peninsula of Point holds their AGM today (Tuesday, December 18) at 2pm.
The meeting, in the offices of Point and Sandwick Trust at the Old School in Knock, is an opportunity for the Point and Sandwick Coastal Community Path group, a registered charity, to review the start of the £1million project as the first phase nears completion.
Work began on securing of the sea wall and path on both sides of the historic Eaglais Na h-Aoidh at the Braighe with a turf-cutting ceremony on November 19 (shown above) and is now finished.
The work, with extensive use of rock armour, is securing 100 metres of coastline and protecting the Ui Church graveyard wall, which was under severe threat of erosion, although the church itself had been secured in 2015.
The creation of a coastal path around Point has been a topic of conversation among community volunteers since 2012 and members of the Point and Sandwick Coastal Community Path group are likely to focus their attention on fundraising for a second phase during their AGM. However, there will also be celebration as they approach their first milestone.
Matt Bruce, Chair of the Point and Sandwick Coastal Community Path committee, said: “It’s great to mark the AGM with the completion of the first phase of the works and we have to thank all our funders and carry on for the next phase.”
The work was carried out by Breedon Group and includes repairs to a large hole in the sea wall.
Urras Eaglais na h-Aoidhe, the Ui Church Trust, were among those delighted to see the work be done – as they had feared the graveyard wall would not withstand another winter.
Liz Chaplin, Ui Church Trust Secretary, said: “We are absolutely delighted the Point and Sandwick Coastal Path group have taken the lead on this, have done the design work, all the engineering work and crucially have got the funding. The northerly storms are threatening to erode the cliff edge and the graveyard wall. We’re so grateful the work is happening now because another winter could have been the end. The cliff could have collapsed completely and then the path would go and the graveyard wall could slip into the sea.”
Development of the coastal path is likely to be split into five phases and could take 10 years.
The Point and Sandwick Coastal Community Path vision is to create a linear community path from Stornoway to Aignish – following the Newton and Sandwick coastline – and then becoming circular, going round the whole Point peninsula.
It would take in the historic, cultural and natural attractions of the area, including the Iolaire monument, Ui Church and Tiumpanhead lighthouse, and make the most of the beautiful views.
(This article and the photographs associated with it has been updated since first being posted)